Monday, August 10, 2009

Money Monday - Those Joneses

Pf blogger Punch Debt in the Face started a personal finance Mad Lib a couple weeks ago. It goes a little like this:

Hi my name is (blank) . I currently have (blank) dollars in my wallet. When I started managing my finances I was worth (blank), and now have a net worth of (blank). I currently work (blank) and have been doing it for (blank) years. I make roughly (blank)per year. I want to have (blank) waiting for me when it comes time to retire. Aside from learning about finances, I really enjoy (blank)I think the world would be a better place if (blank) didn't exist. I had(blank) for dinner last night and it was (blank). I have had(blank)significant others over the course of my lifetime (counting awkward middle school relationships). One thing that makes me different is(blank). Now that I'm done with this mad lib, I think I'm going to (blank).

I'm not going to fill it out personally for you, but take a look at it. As you read it, put your own blanks in. I can tell you when we started managing our finances two years ago we had a net worth of almost NEGATIVE $150,000. After paying off all of our debt except for our mortgage and purchasing life insurance, I feel much better. Seeing that number really freaked me out. I think it's important to remember what truly defines you (which is why I thought it was cool that they ask what you enjoy aside from finances. Money is NOT everything, but when it burdens you, it can certainly FEEL like it.

What do you want out of life? Can you wait for it? Are you succumbing to this microwave culture, where you need to have what you want NOW? Do you have to keep up with your friends? Everyone else is doing (blank), why can't I?

It's okay to be different. It's not easy to say no. Your friends and family will think you're weird and your kids may pout. But, YOU can change your family tree. You can change your kids' lives. By saying no now, you can say yes later. And by "yes" I mean giving your kid way more than what football costs for 4 years of high school.

If you save $100 per month for 20 years. At the end of that 20 years that amount of money will likely have grown to nearly $100,000. I'm pretty sure your kids will understand why you said no, when they can go to college for free and have a huge down payment on a house.

Even at $25 a month you'd end up with over $24,000 at the end of 20 years.

That's how you make compound interest work FOR you instead of against you. 

Do as you wish, but consider these things the next time you feel like you have to keep up with the Joneses.

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